FACTS & STATS: Site: Tad Smith Coliseum (9,061) -- Oxford, Mississippi.
Television: FSN. Home Record: Auburn 7-8, Ole Miss 13-1. Away Record: Auburn
1-6, Ole Miss 5-5. Neutral Record: Auburn 1-3, Ole Miss 1-1. Conference
Record: Auburn 3-10, Ole Miss 8-5. Series Record: Auburn leads, 74-52.
GAME NOTES: A pair of struggling SEC squads are set for a Saturday night
showdown, as the Ole Miss Rebels welcome the Auburn Tigers to Tad Smith
Since starting its SEC slate with two straight wins, Auburn has gone into a
tailspin with losses in 10 of its last 11, including four in a row, to drop to
9-17 overall and 3-10 in conference. The Tigers most recently closed out a
three-game homestand with a 65-56 loss to Texas A&M, and now they head back
out of the road where they have struggled mightily (1-6).
Unlike the Tigers, the Rebels' issues have only started recently, as they have
dropped five of their last seven contests on the heels of the best start in
school history. Ole Miss lost a heart-breaker at South Carolina on Wednesday
night, 63-62, but even with the slide, the team is still in the midst of a
strong season (19-7, 8-5 SEC).
Auburn has a handle on the all-time series with Ole Miss, 74-52, but the
Rebels won the first meeting between the teams this season, going into Auburn
Arena and handing the Tigers a 63-61 defeat on Jan. 26 on a pair of late free
throws by Marshall Henderson.
Auburn made a statement early in its latest game by running out to a 12-0 lead
less than six minutes in, but that's about all the home fans would cheer about
as their beloved squad faltered the rest of the way en route to a nine-point
setback. The Tigers shot a lowly 37.5 percent from the field, including just
5-of-23 from 3-point range (.217). Allen Payne was the lone player to score in
double figures with 11 points, although Rob Chubb, Chris Denson and Jordan
Price all tallied nine points. The Tigers have failed to stand out this season
either with their scoring offense (65.9 ppg) or their defensive showing (67.8
ppg), and their field goal percentage ranks 13th in the SEC (.441). A big
reason for their shooting woes has been Frankie Sullivan who, despite
averaging 14.9 ppg, has been lackluster from the field (.375) and beyond the
arc (.286). Denson is a solid sixth man with 12.1 ppg, and Chubb is
fundamentally sound (8.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.0 bpg).
The Rebels held an eight-point lead on the road with five minutes to play at
South Carolina, but they could not hold onto that advantage down the stretch
as they were daggered with a game-winning 3-pointer with less than 30 seconds
to play. Ole Miss, which ranks seventh in the nation in scoring at 78.8 ppg,
had an extremely uncharacteristic night shooting the ball, as it made only
37.5 percent of its field goal attempts, including 8-of-24 from 3-point range.
Murphy Holloway was strong in the paint with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Derrick Millinghaus and Henderson poured in 11 points apiece, but the pair did
so on a combined 8-of-30 from the field. Henderson sits atop the SEC in
scoring with 19.3 ppg thanks to his league-high 97 3-pointers, but over the
last four games he has shot just 17-of-56 from the field (.304). The Rebels
are fortunate to have one of the best forward duos in the country on their
side, with Holloway (14.7 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.5 spg, .531 FG percentage) and
Reginald Buckner (9.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.8 bpg, .605 FG percentage) both causing
havoc in the low post.
Ole Miss quickly went from one of the favorites in the SEC to in danger of
being on the outside looking in come NCAA Tournament time. Despite the Rebels'
recent struggles however, they shouldn't have much of an issue blowing past a
disappointing Auburn squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ole Miss 84, Auburn 68